News • 22.06.2018

Indoor positioning using wireless network

An accurate and affordable option

Wi-Fi sender/receiver; Copyright: KTU
The software can be installed into an existing device having a Wi-Fi sender/receiver and a data processor.
Source: KTU

The group of scientists from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania has invented the innovative method for indoor positioning of people and things using wireless network. It localises a human being or an object within an accuracy of 1 meter, it works in any device having a Wi-Fi function, and can be applied for numerous areas of human activity - from logistics to health care.

With the extending lifespan and global aging society, smart environments which adapt to their users' needs are becoming increasingly popular. The systems, which can assist their users in performing everyday tasks, can adjust to their personalised needs, and even monitor human health parameters are more and more common. Smart homes, equipped with devices, which can heat up food, inform about needed shopping, adjust lighting and temperature, and signal about critical conditions of their inhabitants by notifying the carers are no longer a distant future, but a reality.

Thanks to the innovative wireless local area network (WLAN) based positioning method invented at KTU, Lithuania, such smart environment solutions can become an affordable option for everyone.

"Based on collected observations of human behaviour, intelligent systems can make decisions themselves. The crucial thing for collecting this kind of data is localisation and positioning of people and things indoors", says Professor Egidijus Kazanavicius, Director of the Real Time Computer Systems Centre, KTU.

Outdoors, people and objects can be located using the Global Positioning System (GPS), but this function usually does not work indoors. Although the body of research related to the indoors positioning using WLAN is substantial, the methods offered usually have significant shortcomings: the positioning accuracy is low, the WLAN-based positioning software usually needs to be installed into specific devices, which increases the price of the final product.

"We have invented the method which allows to localise things and persons within an accuracy of 1 metre and which can be installed into an existing device having a Wi-Fi sender/receiver and a data processor. Such a device might be, for example, a mobile phone", says Kazanavicius.

The challenge of WLAN-based indoors positioning is the Wi-Fi pollution - in most environments around 35-40 thousand possible coordinates of a certain device can be detected. The method invented by KTU researchers is based on scanning the surrounding wireless stations, choosing the two which emit the strongest signals and on multiple measuring of distance between the stations and the device. The mathematical methods are being used for determining the position within an accuracy of 1 metre.

Smart industry solutions, such as advanced process control technologies, human-machine interface, condition monitoring, smart logistics with advanced transport, real-time warehouse management are but a few areas, which could benefit from the innovative WLAN-based positioning method invented at KTU.

KTU scientists have applied for the patent to the European Patent Office (EPO). EPO has officially confirmed the issue of the patent for the method for the indoor positioning of WLAN devices in the near future.

Source: KTU Centre of Real Time Computer Systems

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